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Valve adds SteamVR code, graphics-enhancing rendering plugin to Unity

With the final launch of the HTC Vive now in sight, Valve is preparing developers for virtual r eality technology by bringing native SteamVR support to the Unity game engine, absent an apparent price tag.

The company is accomplishing this by integrating the SteamVR code into Unity, giving developers unfettered freedom to create their own HTC Vive-specific experiences. But that’s not all — Valve has even gone out of its way to add an “advanced” SteamVR rendering plugin to Unity, which it asserts will improve the visuals and performance of developers’ games, thereby producing games that are more lifelike.

“We made many of our Vive demos using Unity, and continue to use it today in VR development”, Valve co-founder and managing director Gabe Newell declares. “Through that process, and in working with VR developers, we found some opportunities to make Unity even more robust and powerful for us and really want to share those benefits with all VR content creators.

Related: HTC Vive Pre gets SteamVR ‘Direct Mode’ update before previous-gen model

This news comes less than a week after Epic Games announced that its own game development platform, Unreal Engine, will be making its way to both HTC Vive and the Oculus Rift, complete with the ability to work on creations without even taking off the headset. Though SteamVR support making its way to Unity isn’t quite as audacious, it’s nonetheless impressive to see such vigorous support from Valve to ensure the HTC Vive is off to a good start when it releases in April.

“Valve and Unity are both dedicated to creating the highest quality VR experiences possible,” added Unity CEO John Riccitiello. “That means giving developers every possible chance to succeed, and our collaboration with Valve is designed to do just that.”

Furthermore, the company reminded us in a press release that, today and tomorrow, it plans to partake in some VR-related talks at the Vision VR/AR Summit happening at the Loews Hotel in Hollywood, California. If you’re a developer and in attendance at the event, you’ll get your own HTC Vive headset just for showing up.